Acculturative Stress: Untold Stories of International Students in the U.S.

Marcus A. Valenzuela, Sergio Palacios, Melissa Cast


International students (IS) are important actors in higher education institutions (HEI) as they bring diversity, status and revenue. However, IS stories of acculturative stress in HEI have remained untold in the current research. While there have been quantitative attempts to understand the links of such stress to negative symptoms affecting IS, the current literature fails to address the emic aspects, origins, and occurrence of such symptoms. In response to this oversight, this paper presents the results of an ethnographic study spearheaded by an international student sensitive to these acculturative stressors at a large land grant institution in the Southwestern United States. Based on field observations and semi-structured interviews, this article contributes to the literature by addressing existing gaps in three main ways. First, by providing insight on how sources of acculturative stress are produced. Second, by allowing for increased understanding of the prevalence of resulting symptoms. Finally, it provides insightful implications for HEI.


Untold Stories, Storytelling, Acculturative Stress, International Students

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